Meadville Tribune

April 19, 2013

H.S. SOFTBALL: Five-run fourth helps Panthers overcome Spa homers

By Lisa Byers
Meadville Tribune

April 19, 2013 7:00 a.m. SAEGERTOWN — Kristen Kargol’s bat has already done quite a bit of damage this season. It was, after all, her game-tying three-run homer, that helped Cambridge Springs pull off a big 10-7 win over Cochranton just last week.

But the Lady Blue Devils proved that Kargol isn’t the only player with the ability to knock the ball out of the park as they sent four balls flying out of Bertram Park on Thursday afternoon. This time, however, it wasn’t enough.

Saegertown answered the Blue Devils’ home run parade with its traditional short game yesterday and took advantage of several Cambridge Springs miscues in the field on its way to a 14-6 win in Region 3 softball action.

The Panthers improved to 8-2 overall and 3-0 in Region 3. Cambridge Springs fell to 2-4 overall and 2-2 in the region.

“We hit the ball pretty well ourselves,” Saegertown coach Mark McKissock said. “We didn’t hit it over the fence as much, but we scored runs in other ways.

“It just so happens there wasn’t anyone on base when they were hitting it out.”

Otherwise, the Panthers may have been looking at its second loss to the Blue Devils on their home turf in two years.

“We were definitely sweating bullets there,” McKissock said. “They were popping it out of the park like nuts and Ari (Hanley) had to be thinking, ‘When’s this going to end and is this going to end?’

“She sucked it up and we started hitting the ball and playing a little short ball. These are the ones you have to win.”

It was Kargol who started things off for the Blue Devils. With two outs, Kargol hit the ball well over the fence in left-center field to give Cambridge Springs a 1-0 lead.

Saegertown answered with two runs in the bottom half of the inning and added on three more in the second, though, to take a 5-1 lead. Lexi Palmer had an RBI double that scored an unearned run in the first. In the second inning, Jessica Tomiczek cracked a double, while Becca Siple and Rachel DiBartolomeo delivered run-scoring singles.

That is when things got exciting for the Blue Devils.

Hanley retired the first batter she faced in the third inning on strikes. The freshman Cameron Schmidt and sophomore McKayla Zilhaver hit back-to-back homers to pull to within two runs (5-3).

Kayla Parkin helped the Blue Devils maintain the momentum with a solid third inning of work on the mound.

In the fourth inning, Cambridge’s Randi Felton reached base on an error with one out. Mackenzie Turner followed with a single and Parkin reached on a fielder’s choice that eliminated Felton and put runners on first and second with two outs.

Freshman Amanda White came through with a two-run triple to the fence in left field scoring Turner and Parkin’s courtesy runner Kayla Kurt to tie the game at 5-5.

“We can hit,” Cambridge Springs coach Angie Mumford said. “We can hit when we want to hit.”

“We don’t give up,” she added. “There are two things we control and that’s attitude and effort, and both of them are good. As long as we keep this up … We’re a young team and we’re talented.”

It was that youth, perhaps, that led to big fourth inning from Saegertown that essentially put the game away.

Cambridge Springs committed three errors in the fourth frame leading to four unearned runs and five total that allowed Saegertown to jump in front, 10-5.

The Panthers added three more runs in the fifth inning — with the help of a two-run homer from Jaricka Simmerman — and another in the sixth.

Cambridge Springs did tack on one of its own in the seventh inning. How? That’s right a solo home run, Zilhaver’s second of the game.

DiBartolomeo led the Panthers with three hits. Hanley, Simmerman, Palmer, Tomiczek and Siple had two hits apiece. Simmerman drove in three runs.

For the Spa, Zilhaver and Kargol had two hits each.